When I heard that my church’s service would be devoted to a mission’s trip report, I initially dreaded it. I knew the team would show photos of the home they built for a needy family in Mexico and share how their own lives had been transformed in the process.
It wasn’t that I didn’t believe in the cause . . . or celebrate the great things that God had done through them.
It was because I couldn’t go with them.
My physical limitations keep me from taking on short-term (let alone long-term) mission assignments. Hearing others share about their amazing experiences (whether in person or via social media) can sometimes make me feel “less than,” left out, and longing to do more.
There are so many things I would do, if only I could . . . GOOD things, that would help meet the overwhelming spiritual and physical needs in the world. Yet, more often than not, I have to say “no” to opportunities to serve.
“No,” to pounding nails in Mexico. “No,” to traveling to an Operation Christmas Child warehouse. “No,” to overnight shifts at the local homeless shelter.
Then I discovered something I could say “Yes” to!
My small town hosted a food packing event for an organization that provides meals to famine-ravaged countries. The packing location was literally a few blocks from my house, and the shifts were only two hours long.
Though it still took a leap of faith, I signed up.
As I donned my hairnet and joined the assembly line, I witnessed all ages – from children to the elderly, joyfully laboring together to fill bags with life-sustaining food. Every skill level was accommodated – from those who needed to sit, to those who could heft heavy boxes. In just a few hours’ time, 350 people packed over 115,000 meals.
I was deeply affected, and realized an important principle:
When each of us does our part – no matter how small, collectively we make a huge difference.
A quote often attributed to Mother Teresa says, “Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.” What’s important is not the magnitude of our actions, but that we faithfully do what we can.
As Romans 12:6 says, “Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them.”
Scripture uses the analogy of a body to affirm that we’re each created to fulfill different, but essential roles. “God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be . . . the eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I don’t need you!’ And the head cannot say to the feet, ‘I don’t need you!’ On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable.” I Corinthians 12:18, 21-22, NIV
God cares much more about the motives of our hearts than the size of our accomplishments. I love the story of the “widow’s mite,” where an impoverished woman’s humble offering was far more precious to Jesus than the lavish gift from an arrogant man (Luke 21:1-41).
When the smallest acts of service are borne out of a sincere love for God and humanity, we do a world of good.
We need to stop comparing ourselves to others – or feeling inferior when we can’t “do” or give as much as we’d like.
When we say “yes” to what God has uniquely equipped us to do, it’s exactly enough.